Giving Love/Talking Business

 Giving Love / Talking Business

john polkIt was this realization–our differences are only apparent–came from my years of study. Now I can say that I love you without any hesitation, embarrassment or underlying motivations. While I do not know everything about you, I know enough to love you even if we have never met. This ability to love even strangers may be a very new idea to you, but once you grasp it, make it your own. You are going to discover that your world is fuller with meaning and purpose and wonderful changes will begin to occur in your life. Many set-in-their-ways people in business will feel that they are too trapped by circumstances or old systems to even attempt the changes that I am advocating. However, when you do, you are in for many wonderful surprises not only in your business, your job but at home and at play as well. This may be very difficult for you to believe, but please keep reading. You’ll see!

William James, one of the most beloved and respected pioneers of psychology, told us that, “If we but love our own family, but have no love for strangers, we are signaling our inability to love at all.” And the world-renowned psychologist of more modern times, Erich Fromm, told us that, “…love of one person implies love of man, as such.” Even if you are skeptical about being able to love everyone, it is in your potential to do so. Indeed, rich or poor, struggling or successful, all of us want more than anything else to love and to be loved. Our clients and customers are the same.Just imagine how a customer would feel if she heard what is said about customers at one of your sales or marketing meetings. The chances are she would feel dehumanized, a kind of statistic, a number or mindless ninny whose only value was her purchasing power. If that were you listening in, you would be outraged or, if you had previously trusted the salespeople or marketers attending, you would feel betrayed and hurt–leading you to go someplace else to shop for the product or service you needed or desired.

You should always act as if one of your best clients or customers is in the room whenever you have a sales or marketing meeting. You can’t very well muster a glow of love from a flame that has been lit with arrogance or contempt, the motives of battlefield sales tactics, and neither can your staff, employees, clerks, sales team or the person who answers the phone.

In the old days, you could maintain a double standard and do well–calling your customers your most important commodity in one breath and talk about pushing him against the wall in the next.Those days are long gone. Not every entrepreneur reading this book lacks sincere motives regarding customers and clients, but that double standards still persists in most business. When the double standards do exist, your store, office, warehouse or shop creates an unloving atmosphere, even if the salesperson on the floor attempts to cover it up. Most do not.

Complacency is most damaging to success in business. Complacency is just the opposite of warmongering sales tactics, but it is as destructive. We have all gone into a store and were“helped” by a complacent clerk. By the time we exit the store we’re agitated, if not extremely angry. We want service, just as everyone else does, and when we don’t get it, we tend not to go back. But even conscientious service is not enough these days to motivate customer/ . Someone will always be waiting in the wings to add your buyer to their customer list, most typically they will be offering greater variety and lower prices than you. Or they are probably far more powerful in their marketing and advertising than you are. Your basic challenge is quite simple: You want to keep the customers/clients you have while attracting new customers/clients at a lower investment than you are now making. You want is to create an income-multiplying factor in your favor. Obviously complacency will not accomplish this or any other of your positive goals.

Many companies aggressively focus on obtaining new customers, but in the process they pay little attention to maintaining their existing customers. As a result they often lose excellent customers to the competition merely because they have been complacent in their customer concern.

Imagine a company that lost or misplaced 10% of their product in one year. Suddenly the accountant came to the CEO and said, I don’t know what happened, but over the last two years we have lost or misplaced over 10% of our inventory.” Management would freak out and hold emergency meetings to get to the bottom of the crisis. They would take immediate action and heads would roll. Yet many companies lose customers and may not even know it. Many don’t even know who their customers are, much less if they’ve been around for a year or so. Managers, CEOs, even owners can be just as complacent as staff and other employees–and complacency always drifts down to the sales force; always affects the bottom line in sales and/or production.

Ask yourself a few questions:

How do your employees treat your/their customers?

Are your employees themselves treated with care and concern? (If not, they cannot then be expected to treat customers accordingly.)

What is your investment to secure “customer preservation”? (In the past this was commonly called “customer retention” but the phrase doesn’t work in the love-economy.)

How aware are you that your company’s value will increase through a focus on “customer preservation”?

Do you regularly discuss this aspect of your business with ALL of your employees? Do you solicit their input and ideas on this subject?

How often do you remind yourself that word-of-mouth remains the best and most effective advertising of all?

You want word-of-mouth advertising to work for you, as this kind of positive, productive marketing always increases business and ensures profitability. By becoming a love-based entrepreneur, your greater success will simply begin to unfold. And, you will soon discover that the motivation to tap into your customer’s or client’s heart will produce far more financial success than tapping into their pocketbook. This new love economy is quickly entering our business lives, giving us a new paradigm of doing business and of entrepreneurship. Many new “techno” terms are being used to describe this change in thinking, such as “CRM,” and “e-CRM,” along with other buzz words finding their way into the business arena, such as, “relationship marketing,” “loyalty marketing” and others. The message is clear: the sterile and impersonal company will no longer survive.

This projection of non-survival is really a simple evaluation of past, present and future in terms of studying how Mom and Pop businesses gave way to the new wave of image advertising and the constructs of social growth and change. Downtown businesses were affected by the advent of mall mania. As far as observing the present (the last twenty years), the rising cost of doing business, not excluding advertising and customer receiving, has lowered the profit margins and widened the cracks of potential failure or even extinction for countless business that continues to compete in the markets today. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see around the future waiting around the corner. On the other hand, we do not have to be subject to the dictates of that future nor do we have to be part of a negative history repeating itself. And this is the very magic, the miracle of it all. You and I can, as Wayne W. Dyer tells us, manifest our own destinies. If we choose to ground our businesses and lives in love and in the expression of love, the future naturally becomes brighter, happier and rewarding for us. What the world wants now, perhaps more than any other time in history, is love.

People, we call them customers and clients, have been realizing or sensing this for the last half-century. This is not only because of the dehumanizing direction that big business keeps heading. This is also about the general worldview that came from the entire war economy that we live with daily. The uncertainty of world peace, the overwhelming quantum leaps in technologies, the loss of family ties–this list goes on and on. As businessmen and women we get so caught up in mental webbing of profit and loss that we lose sight of who we really are. We tend to abandon our loving natures and, instead, caress our greed and our yearnings to control. At the same time everyone else is enduring their own lives, living more in cocoons of survival as opposed to enjoying their humanism, and they forget to love the world and themselves. We all lose heart and begin feeling and thinking that the world is heartless and aloof. But the truth is, we all have heart to give and love to share–but we don’t. Why? We fear that we’ll be taken advantage of, or rejected, or made a fool of, but nevertheless, we yearn—often secretly—to share our love, our innate kindness and caring. But what we typically find is the sour-faced banker, the uncaring or even snippy clerk or even our next-door neighbor????. As a result of all this, added to your personal experiences, we all begin feeling far more lost than found.

A subtle change has been occurring collectively and individually over the last fifty years. This change can best be described as a yearning to reawaken to our own humanism, to our own loving and giving natures that connects us to others and to the universe in a meaningful and purposeful way. And this is the reason we all feel such inner-joy when someone simply treats us nice, and when we have been kind to someone outside ourselves.

The irony is that we all continue as if we are condemned to do business as usual. Indeed, these days we have even accepted the idea that when we deal in business we may not even get “what we pay for,” but, we can be assured of paying for what we get. Our customers and clients also identify with this idea. This iswhy you will benefit by choosing to create a unique love position for your company. What does this mean? It means that as you strive to do sound, progressive and profitable business by inspiring the minds of your customers and clients, you touch their hearts also. When you do this—when you create your unique love position—a win/win situation results. You win, your customer/client wins and, in the process you have grown your business and forwarded your life.

This gives us a clear realization that the old ways—the warring ways of doing business—taps only into the customer/client’s intellect. The love marketer understands the heart value; that customer security, fidelity and longevity are much more about how we make the customer feel as opposed to think. So this question: What is it that you (really) want?

You want to create a loving environment and have your clients and customers feel the glow. In order to accomplish this you need your executives, staff and employees to be inspired as much as you are. This includes everyone, custodians to chiefs. You want everyone to replace complacency with conscientiousness, aloofness with sincere concern, you want helpful and loving service to energize your business environment no matter if it is a plant, a shop or office, no matter what your business is. You want your customers/ clients to feel as though they are visiting a happy family when they enter your workplace, which is really only possible if your staff and employees are happy at what they do. This is not up to them, though, not initially. This is up to you. In fact, you don’t want to have your own people groping about in your shadow. You want them finding their way in your enlightenment. If you’re a “do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do “person, you’re not about to accomplish the goal of becoming a love-based enterprise. This brings us to the difficult part. If you are not love- orientated or a love-based entrepreneur at this time, you are going to have to change you before you can change anyone else or create a loving environment in your business.

If you are already love-based and sincere, you will already have made many creative and, positive changes. If not, don’t worry. I am going to tell you exactly how to make loving changes in your life..I promise that when these great changes begin to occur for you, they will begin to occur throughout your work environment. They will also change your home environment and make wonderful changes in both your private and public life. Soon enough those who know you will begin seeing the changes. They won’t know what the changes are based upon, so they’ll ask if you’ve changed your hair, been taking vitamins, exercising, or won the lotto? They won’t know or probably even suspect that they have entered your glow, and the glow they have entered, is love. Your staff and employees will start responding to you in this way as well, and you want them to have the same glow. This is why it is so important to become a love-based human being yourself, because you cannot give what you do not have.

The Bitter and the Sweet

Haveyou noticed a number of negative changes in your business over the past few years?

A decrease in response rates to your direct mail, print ads, yellow pages, radio and TV spots?

The cost to make a sales call is increasing?

Your sales force may show an erosion of effectiveness of your customer acquisition activities? A drop in margins or greater pressure to reduce prices? The investment to acquire a new customer has slowly been increasing while at the same time your customers are leaving you in greater numbers than ever before?

Lots of things are shifting in bitter waves, and many entrepreneurs are not aware of what is causing the erosion of businesses. Adding to this list of negatives it also seems obvious that the lifetime value per customer is shrinking, and the average value per transaction is slipping. Most companies are spending more money to attract fewer and fewer customers.

A few years back I noticed that my direct mail and TV ads were pulling less. Why it was costing so much more to acquire a customer? My first inclination was to blame the copy. I thought my ads weren’t being written as well as they had been, that probably I was at the core of problems in the creative aspects of my marketing. After a time, I realized that it is just too noisy out there–we are bombarded with a zillion images and messages everyday–so it was getting harder and harder to gain the customer’s attention, much less his or her patronage. Suddenly I understood the old warring ways were already obsolete, or quickly becoming so. As I studied how business was changing for me, I began to believe more and more that we had to change how we were doing business if we wanted to survive. When the light bulb turned on, I began thinking about love marketing and began to see a love economy evolving. As all these pieces began falling together , knew I wanted to share the love and the metaphors of love­– and the new paradigms with as many people as possible.

Some of the major problems are because the abundance of companies, too many undifferentiated products and an overflow of advertising. For countless businesses confronting these difficult challenges, the added obstacles to their success are lack of vision, purpose, meaning, and core values. Add all this to indifference (if not plain rudeness directed toward customers), and you can clearly see why business failure or stagnation is not only coming in from the outside, but also being created from the inside.

What is needed to create positive changes from within? An entrepreneur is a person with a vision, one who has the courage to risk time, effort and money to achieve his or her goals and fulfill those ambitions. Most say that entrepreneurship has made America strong and great, and I believe it. Once success is achieved to one level or another, greater success is usually at the top of the priority list and so a higher yield of profits is nearly always on the agenda.

The love-based entrepreneur is different from the traditional entrepreneur in that he or she is also an intrepreneur. Small business is extremely challenged today and is being forced to make positive changes if it is to survive and excel. The love-based entrepreneur realizes that what this calls for is entrepreneurial commitment.

Entrepreneurial commitment reminds us that, as a verb, love requires action. If the love-based entrepreneur merely makes the mental decision to treat his or her customers nicer, with more sincerity and even love, this is not enough. This attitude, this way of conducting business, will merely be a personal attempt to “be” loving and caring and end up as more of a ploy than anything else. The action of love must begin with the in-house relationship of executives, staff and employees. It is impossible to have a love-based environment only after your doors are open for business. In short, putting on a happy face will not work unless that happiness is real and sincere. Both the attitude and action of love must prevail throughout your family of staff and employees, as individuals and as a collective. What you want is a company of Love-Based Entrepreneur–an LBE, not just a new policy posted on the bulletin board. Remember, we used the metaphor of love creating a glow into which people enter? It is this glow, this (joyous) feeling that you want to spread throughout your facility. Believe me, when customers and clients enter they will respond, because they will be aware of the caring and concern in the environment itself.

I am a realist, and fully aware that we all have our difficult days, and sometimes bring our home-life problems to work. Any of us can have a bad day, but inn spite of these emotional and/or psychological down modes, once the company has achieved a loving and positive spirit, the overall feeling does not wane. Love prevails over all such temporary obstacles! In short, a clerk having a “bad” day or a salesperson not feeling up to par is not going to cloud or diminish the high spirited love-based environment you’ve created. I repeat: Love prevails over all such obstacles.

After you made sure that you are love-based, then you can and will inspire your staff and employees to become love-based intrepreneurs. As soon as this begins to happen, you will begin seeing positive results. These results will not only be personally rewarding, since you will begin to feel happier and healthier, but as they occur, they will also produce practical rewards. Your business will increase, you will earn greater profits and your clients and customers will begin doing a lot of very effective advertising for you. I know, because I have gone through the transitions and the personal transcendence into becoming more loving and so more giving, more compassionate and more understanding than I was before the day I decided to seek out a few answers. I am both emotionally and psychologically at peace with the world and myself and I am grateful for this. I can’t tell you how wonderful this is, but I can tell you that you will soon find out for yourself.

I’ve given you a lot to digest and think about. What follows are workable ways to open up your mind and heart to loving unconditionally and how this will produce (in real and practical ways) the greater wealth and success you are seeking.

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